How to Get Rid of Baby Acne

Acne usually starts during puberty, but it may also develop in babies. In fact, about 20% of newborns experience baby acne. It often develops two to four weeks after birth, but some babies are born with it. Baby acne may last for several days or weeks to a few months, but most baby acne cases go away on their own without treatment, so it’s usually not something to worry about.

But of course, we understand that as a parent, you always want your baby to feel and look his/her best. So, if your child is experiencing baby acne, hopefully, this article will help you better understand this condition and may also give you more information on how to get rid of baby acne as early as possible.

What Does Baby Acne Look Like?

Just like how acne looks like in teens and adults, baby acne appears like tiny pimples or red or white bumps on the baby’s face or body, but it’s usually more common on their cheeks, nose, scalp, neck and upper back. Baby acne may also consist of whiteheads and reddish skin may also appear surrounding the red or white bumps.

It’s best to see a pediatrician as soon as you see pimples or bumps on your baby’s skin to confirm whether it’s just baby acne or a more serious skin condition like milia, eczema and erythema toxicum. Another indication that it’s time to go to the doctor is when your baby’s acne causes discomfort (i.e., can’t sleep at night, itching, crying all day, etc.), inflammation or if it has blackheads and pus-filled bumps.

What Really Causes Baby Acne?

The cause of baby acne remains unknown at this point. But experts think it may be related with maternal or infant hormones or yeast that may live on the skin.

How Can You Treat Baby Acne?

As mentioned earlier, baby acne normally disappears even without treatment. However, for baby acne that lingers for months instead of just a few days to several weeks, your doctor may recommend prescription creams or ointment to help clear up your baby’s skin.

Please avoid buying over the counter (OTC) face washes, acne treatments or creams because the baby’s skin is still extremely sensitive. Applying something that’s too strong for your baby’s skin may lead to skin irritation, blisters, scarring or even make the acne worse and eventually develop to a more serious skin condition.

Tips to Prevent Baby Acne or Not Make it Worse

Some of the things you can do to prevent baby acne or at least keep it from getting worse:
  • Be gentle with the baby’s skin, especially when taking a bath. If your baby is already experiencing acne, avoid scrubbing the affected area to avoid causing irritation, and to help it heal faster.
  • Use lukewarm water when washing your baby’s skin.
  • As much as possible, use a mild soap, fragrance-free or a soap-free cleanser when washing your baby’s skin. It may be best to ask your doctor for product recommendations to know what’s best for your baby’s skin type.
  • Avoid using adult acne products such as those with erythromycin or retinoids on your baby’s skin as they may be too strong and may cause further skin issues.
  • Avoid using oily or greasy products that may aggravate baby acne. It’s also best to skip the lotion and heavy creams.
  • Most of all, please do not squeeze baby acne as this many only irritate your baby’s skin, cause scarring and/or just make it worse.

Final Thoughts

While there’s no specific treatment for baby acne, it’s still best to seek professional advice to know how to handle it with care. Besides, it’s good to know if it may be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as a condition related to your baby’s endocrine system, a tumor or congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). On top of it all, we understand how worrying it can be for you, especially because you love your baby so much. Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our pediatricians and dermatologists if you need any advice or assistance. As always, we’re here for you and your baby’s safe care.

American Academy of Dermatology Association

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